A New Clinical Research Workforce: The Educator Role, Key to Supporting Clinical Academic Careers in the UK

Wednesday, July 13, 2011: 8:30 AM

Elizabeth Anne Rosser, DPhil, MN, DipRM, DipNEd, RN, RM
School of Health and Social Care, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, United Kingdom

Learning Objective 1: 1. The learner will be able to discuss the global challenges facing the success of a new clinical academic career pathway for nurses.

Learning Objective 2: 2. The learner will be able to critically evaluate the role of nurse educator in the support and development of future clinical research leaders.


The establishment of the new Clinical Academic Career pathway for nurses in the UK is well underway, indicating the global importance of research, education and practice to the profession of nursing. In spite of the economic downturn, a four stage education pathway is being funded nationally to develop leaders in clinical research.

The aim of this paper is to explore how experienced educationalists view their role in supporting research capacity and capability in their students and their practitioner colleagues to embed the new role and develop future leaders in clinical research. 


Between October 2005 – January 2007,  30 semi-structured interviews were undertaken with key educationalists to investigate their perceived influence on developing and shaping the research workforce in practice.  Using a purposive sampling technique,  7-8 experienced educators were identified from each of four higher education institutions in South West England.  Data were managed, analysed and coded with the assistance of the computer assisted qualitative data analysis software NVivo, using thematic analysis. 


Nurse educators recognised their importance in harnessing students early on in their development into a research career and the need for creativity in research at all levels, through a variety of strategies.  It is hoped that once Registered nurses take up the well structured education pathway, building and developing relationships between educationalists and clinical researchers in the practice environment will limit the professional isolation previously experienced by Clinical Research Nurses.   With continued support, this pathway will help them towards leadership development in research and greater career opportunities in the future. 


This study offers lessons that can be learned by the global nursing workforce.  Educationalists see themselves as having a key role in shaping clinical research careers in supporting the new workforce and successfully developing the research leaders of the future.